News / Europe

Bridges to Donetsk Destroyed as Ukraine Battles Separatists

People walk under a destroyed railroad bridge over a main road leading into Donetsk, near the village of Novobakhmutivka, north of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, July 7, 2014.
People walk under a destroyed railroad bridge over a main road leading into Donetsk, near the village of Novobakhmutivka, north of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, July 7, 2014.

Three bridges into rebel-held Donetsk were destroyed Monday, as Ukrainian forces continue to fight pro-Russian separatists in the eastern part of the country

The bridges are access points from Slovyansk, which Ukrainian troops reclaimed from rebels Saturday.

A Reuters video shows a freight train stretched over what used to be a railway, now collapsed into a V-shape onto the highway below.

It is unclear which of the three bridges reportedly damaged by blasts on Monday is shown in the video.

A railroad worker told the news agency that villagers near one bridge heard an explosion.

There is no word yet on who is behind Monday's blasts.

The bridges were damaged near the towns of Zakotne, Novobakhmutivka, and Seleznivka along the roughly 100 kilometers from Slovyansk to Donetsk.

Separatists from Slovyansk are said to have retreated toward Donetsk, the east's main industrial hub where pro-Russian rebels first declared a "people's republic."

On Sunday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko ordered military forces to "tighten the ring around the terrorists."

Pavlo Shisholin, deputy head of Ukraine's border control service, said in a news conference Monday that Russian forces continue their build-up along the border.

"Military equipment is continuing to build up on the territory of the Russian Federation. This includes tanks, APCs [armored personnel carriers], armored vehicles. For example, near the village of Valyiki, in the Kharkiv region, 10 helicopters arrived and are currently stationed. In the region of Milerovo, which is close to our border, a new tactical group is located. And such facts take place on a daily basis."

The government offensive in Slovyansk came after Poroshenko refused to renew a unilateral cease-fire and ordered the resumption of a government offensive on June 30.

Ukrainian forces said they now had full control of Slovyansk and the nearby town of Kramatorsk.

Local news agency Novosti Donbass said armed rebels were patrolling one of the main streets of Donetsk on Sunday.

Slovyansk has been the most important stronghold of the militants fighting government forces in mainly Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine, a focal point of tensions between the West and Russia.

The uprisings in eastern Ukraine erupted in April as rebels took over state buildings, built a powerful arsenal of seized weapons and declared their independence from Kyiv, calling the pro-European government illegitimate.

The crisis began when street protests ousted Moscow-backed Viktor Yanukovych in late February for rejecting a landmark political and trade deal with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia.

Russia subsequently annexed Crimea and separatist revolts against the new Kyiv authorities broke out with rebels, widely believed to be supported by Moscow, declaring "people's republics" and saying they wanted to join Russia.

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Comment Sorting
by: Cayman
July 08, 2014 9:12 AM
This is diversion associated with Kiev intentions to block Donetsk and Lugansk! That way if they destroy infrastructures help and ammunition could not come to this region and they could continue the genocide!

by: meanbill from: USA
July 07, 2014 6:11 PM
CRAZY isn't it?.... The Ukraine army knew where the pro-Russians were and had them surrounded, until the Ukraine army took the cities and towns, and now the pro-Russians have them surrounded, with less fighters..... The Ukraine army had the great advantage of firing their big guns on the concentrated pro-Russians in the cities, and dropping bombs on them..... (but then), they gave up that great advantage to hang flags on the cities buildings..... now the pro-Russians are running loose in the countryside just like the Taliban in Afghanistan, and everybody knows how much damage they're doing, don't we?

IF ONLY the US, EU, and NATO countries hadn't interfered in Ukraine, like in all the other countries they interfered in, and now brought nothing but violence, killings, destruction and wars to the Ukrainians...... now the bombings, killings, and destruction and war, just may spread to the Ukrainian innocent people, like their military waged on the pro-Russian innocent people in south eastern Ukraine?..... (Guerilla warfare tactics?)..... they could have just drank tea, couldn't they?

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